Tributes have poured in today for a Derry missionary nun who was killed in the Ecuadorian Earthquake tragedy.
Mayor Elisha McCallion and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood were among those who expressed their condolences to the family of Sister Clare Theresa Crockett from Iona Terrace in the Brandywell.
Meanwhile Sr. Clare’s family were today trying and organise for the return of her remains for burial in the city.
Sr Clare was killed on Sunday along with a number of Ecuadorian postulants, young people who were considering becoming nuns, conducting hymn practice.
The 33-year-old Derry woman and the young people were trying to get to safety in the four-storey school they were in and are believed to have made it to a staircase when the building collapsed.
She had been in a school in Playa Prieta with other sisters from the Home of the Mother order at the time. It is understood a number of the other nuns managed to escape with their lives.
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said that Derry was today in mourning following the tragedy.
Mr Eastwood said: “Like many others across our city, I want to pay my deepest respects to the family of Sister Clare Theresa Crockett at this very difficult time.
“A pillar of faith for her community, she will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
“The tragedy following the earthquake in Ecuador continues to devastate families across the world. I know here in Derry that the local community will give Sister Clare’s family all the support and comfort they need at this deeply distressing time.
“My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of my party colleagues, are with them.”
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Colr. McCallion said: “I was really saddened to hear this news this morning. It is such sad news for her family and for the whole community who knew Sister Clare.
“I understand she had been working for some time at a school in Playa Prieta where she was a much loved and valued member of the community. The sympathies of the people of the Derry City and Strabane District Council go out to her family and friends, and indeed the wider Church community,” she said.
SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan also expressed sorrow at the news. He said: “Derry’s heartfelt sympathy goes out to all of the victims of the Ecuador earthquake – as people of the city always respond with solidarity and charity to natural disasters and other crises in the world.
“That humanitarian response will be more poignant as we know that a young Derry woman who dedicated her life to the service of others has lost her life in this tragedy.
“While no words can console Sister Clare’s family on the loss of such a special person, I hope that everyone’s sympathy and support will bring them some comfort at this very sad time.”
Sr. Clare was among more than 270 people known to have lost their lives in the tragedy, with thousands more injured.
The Order of the Mother, via Facebook, have posted: “The bodies of the missing Sister and girls have been found amongst the rubble a few hours ago.
“We ask for prayers for their souls, so that they may soon be in God’s presence, seeing Him face to face. We also ask for prayers for their families, so that the Lord may bring a greater good of their suffering.”
The others who died were candidates named as Mayra, Maria Augusta. Jazmina, along with Valeria, an aspirant and Catalina, a young girl, who was described as “very close to the Sisters”.